Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Autorickshaws must also be from Venus.

Note: I request all women with a poor sense of humour to stop reading at the period.

Autorickshaws must be from Venus. They behave pretty much like women anyway. Listed below are a few comparisons. I am sure people more observant and imaginative than I am, will come up with more.

1) They ask too many questions; unnecessary more often than not.

2) They always demand more. Despite a meter (logic in real life)!

3) They always take a long and winding route before getting to the point.

4) They take kids to school.

5) They get in your way when you are off for something important

6) They are a menace on the road.

7) You never find one when you are desperately in need of one.

8) You mess with one on the road, a crowd gathers and gangs up against you – no matter what!

9) They are always on the lookout for richer men.

10) They always have separate rules.

11) Their sound annoys you.

12) They act pricey at night.

13) You have to settle for the dilapidated one because the good ones are taken.

14) They gossip every time two of them get together, even if the other isn’t listening.

15) It will take a lot of cajoling to convince them to go with you.

16) They are insensitive to pleas.

17) They always complain about things or the lack of it, as per the situation.

18) Men ride them. In most cases at least.

19) And yes, you can’t live with them, nor can you live without them.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fluid City!

The city of Bangalore must be in a fluid state. Yes, yes. I have never seen a mobile lamppost either. But nothing else could explain, the phenomenon I am about to narrate.

It was way past lunch time and I was out to meet a friend. Since I had kept her waiting for long enough, I thought I’d pick a place closer to her workplace to make it up. And hence I chose Frazer Town. Now the fact that Savoury, the Mallu place that serves Arabic food, was located in the neighbourhood had nothing to do with it. I let quite a few autorickshaws pass by until the one with the apparently flawless digital meter came along.

The driver demanded only the directions and not the customary “20 rupeees extraa saar!” Agreeing, I jumped in happily. Surprisingly, he did not complain about the traffic, the roads or my smoking as we drove through all of the aforementioned. He threw a grimace at me through the rear-view mirror for the latter though. I reached my destination in 20 minutes. I paid him Rs. 42. Now that would make it a 6-km-ride considering the exorbitant Rs.7 per kilometer rates in the city. I paid him Rs. 45. A tip for honesty.

I finished a quick lunch, made faster by my veggie friend who clearly did not enjoy my gorging on the mutton liver. The first autorickshaw that greeted me outside the restaurant had a brand new digital meter neatly perched atop the iron bar behind the driver’s seat. Wow, I exclaimed! Without even managing a proper good bye, I hopped into the auto. I took the same road back, eliminating a few possible short cuts I had in mind. 42 was indeed a reasonable amount of money. Ignoring the generally reliable digital meter, I dedicated my full concentration to enjoying the beautiful things on the road – mainly feminine.

There was nothing general or nothing reliable about the digital meter when I reached my office. Rs. 63.50!!! That was a little over 9 kilometers. Now, how do you explain that? If the places and the roads were in a static, solid state, where did these three kilometers come from? I did not see a large chunk of land or a wriggling piece of road fall from the sky (If it had fallen while I was eating, I would have heard the thud). Did it emerge from beneath? There was no one from the media in sight. So, let us eliminate that possibility as well. Nor do I remember him taking a large deviation across the Great Wall of China. Then how? The only possibility is the one I mentioned in the first paragraph. About the city being in a fluid state; where Langford road and Frazer town are located on a fluid and flexible surface that keeps expanding and at times contracting, leading to the fluctuation of distances between two points. Or, by wild stretch of imagination, it could be that the meter in the second autorickshaw was rigged. Now that would be a ridiculous assumption, wouldn’t it be?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Forever United

I recently got myself a Manchester United logo tattooed on my arm. The torture lasted 4 and a half hours (relatively quick according to the artist). And by the time it was done, I was a happy man. Now, I don’t expect many people to share my joy, or even understand it. Precisely the reason why I got it in a not-so-visible area. I am tired of explaining to non-believers what football and especially United mean to me. This is probably the last time.

I fell in love with Manchester United the day I saw them take on the table toppers Aston Villa in the winter of 1998. I was a novice among premiership watchers that day. I was unaware of the Busby Babes. I did not know that this was one of the most famous teams in the world. I did not know that Fergie was a Scot. My choice was based on instinct. One to support the underdogs. And the reds did not disappoint me one bit. The remainder of the season saw Manchester United fight their way up, in their now-famous post-christmas surge, and won an unprecedented treble.

More than a decade has gone by since that cold and fateful winter afternoon. Since my journey with Manchester United began. My faith in them has not moved an inch – very much in tune with one of the club songs that go, “We shall not be moved.” They have won many a wonderful game. And they have lost many a painful one. But through tears of joy and sorrow, I swore by the Ferguson’s red army.

And today, my friends ask me why, of all things, I got myself the tattoo of a football club. One look at the climbing debt and you will know that Manchester United’s future is not the brightest. Chances are, in a few years from now, they will have to sell their best assets to address their mammoth debts. And one day, the worst nightmare of every United fan will come true, and Ferguson will step down from the helm. And United may turn into a club that plays boring football. “What then?” ask my mates. And I have no answer. It could be my way of showing gratitude to them for giving me something to believe in year after year. It could be my way of appreciating the most beautiful football they showcased time and again. It could be my way of saying ‘thank you’ for giving a rebel his cause. At least for while.